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Electron Spin Resonance

We will study how a classical “particle” having magnetic dipole moment and angular momentum responds to an external magnetic field. We will relate these findings to quantum mechanical properties of electrons. We will study energy and angular momentum transfer from rotating fields to the particle. Use of a classical analog helps the student develop a model to better understand the quantum mechanical electron spin resonance.

Photo of the apparatus

The apparatus: Teachspin Magnetic Torque apparatus, Daedelon Electron Spin apparatus, and digital oscilloscope. (Click on photo for a higher resolution view.)

Skills that will be acquired include: measuring spin frequency using a strobe light; use of a digital oscilloscope for careful measurements of resonance conditions; building a classical theoretical model and applying it to a quantum system.

This experiment will be performed on one day of the three-day immersion. In the classical system measurements will be made of the magnetic dipole moment and angular momentum of a ball riding on an air bearing. The relation among magnetic moment, angular momentum, magnetic field and precession frequency will be determined. This relation will be used to understand similar relations for electron spin resonance.

More information can be found at

Safety considerations: none.

The cost to implement the experiment is roughly $6000.